F&A BPO in 2013: Step aside Magic Quadrant, hello Blueprint

After three years of hard labor, we, at HfS, are proud to launch our first “HfS Blueprint” that we believe is the revolutionary crowdsourced methodology for evaluating business and IT service providers.  

The industry has been literally screaming at us to change the way analyst firms portray their assessments of service provider performance, and we’ve dug deep to leverage our massive community, our extensive buyer relationships and demand data, to facilitate what we truly believe is a major game-changer in the research analyst industry:  The HfS Blueprint.

Finally:  A genuine way to assess services providers that isn’t reliant on the arbitrary viewpoint of a single analyst;

Finally: A credible methodology to gauge the performance of service providers against “real” innovation and execution capabilities;

Finally: A performance assessment of providers that apportions importance weightings of each innovation and execution category based on data from our State of Outsourcing survey, conducted with the support of KPMG, covering 1355 enterprise buyers, influencers, advisors and provider executives;

Finally: A performance assessment of providers where exhaustive inputs from buyers and influencers shape the scoring (not solely a handful of rose-tinted client references from the providers themselves);

Finally: A customizable assessment tool where enterprise buyers can re-calibrate the weightings to assess their provider-fit based on their own unique needs.

Yes indeed – we threatened these Blueprints five months ago, and we’re now ready to launch the first one… in  the much vaunted, but still immature, market of Finance and Accounting BPO, which is currently growing at a double-digit clip.  Click here to access our first Blueprint in Finance & Accounting BPO:

Click to Enlarge

We are happy to discuss the Blueprint methodology in greater detail (drop us a note here) but essentially, in this example for F&A BPO, we assessed data from 745 live multi-process F&A BPO engagements to ascertain provider market shares, depth of client base, breath of execution and geographic scope of delivery.  We then conducted exhaustive interviews with multiple buyers and market advisors to help score providers against each other across all the sub-categories of the Blueprint using ExpertChoice, an advanced statistical analytics platform. We also received a tremendous amount of cooperation from (almost) all of the providers above, as we went through this exhaustive process to understand their concrete plans for the future, get really deep with their current client relationships, their overall vision and their appetite to evolve into higher-value areas of F&A BPO.

Congratulations to the Winners Circle and the chasing pack of High Performers… we’ll see how the picture has shifted in 2014!

Thanks to all who took part – you’ve helped create a little bit if research history.

You can download the full HfS Blueprint methodology by clicking here.

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  1. Larry
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Kudos to HFS for this bold and innovative move. This is an area of the research industry that desperately needs a change in its approach,


  2. James Levy
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Excellent work – this should “send the cat among the pigeons”!

    James Levy

  3. Gaurav
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Another cause to celebrate the efforts and success of HfS. I am excited to see the Blueprint help change the behavior of providers and how they use analysts to promote themselves.


  4. Sam
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I applaud this attempt to inject some realism into the analyst industry. Being able to cultivate the views and opinions of the broader industry, and not simply the bias of a solitary analyst, is a real game-changer.

    I wish you guys the very best of fortune with the Blueprint initiative,


  5. Eric
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Phil and team,

    This looks really ground-breaking – I am very impressed. Can you elaborate on how the execution and innovation scores breakdown?


  6. Posted March 25, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    @Eric – The methodology is in the download. Each factor is broken down into weights, and those weights are part of the published Blueprint (available to clients). The weights change from category to category based on the inputs from the buyer community. The weights and scores are customizable for clients, so they can run their own model based on their specific needs – or compare how their results compare to the broader community perspective.

  7. Jasmine
    Posted March 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this blog. This is looks really ground-breaking . I’m very impressed.

  8. Posted March 26, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    This is great move. Can’t wait to look at the first report. All the best !

  9. Posted March 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    @Eric – to add to Tony’s points here, the Blueprint shifts the “power” away from the analyst or analyst firm and onto the broader community, where the buyers, influencers and providers assess what criteria are more important for said category (in this case F&A BPO) and the providers are paired off against each other within each category, based on evidence from exhaustive customer interviews, expert interactions and finally the provider’s own vision and investments.


  10. Andrew Sutcliffe
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Kudos to HFS. You are a breath of fresh air blowing through a stale, stagnating analyst business. I wish you the very best as you take on these antiquated models,


  11. Jim McNamara
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I love the fact that you are crowdsourcing the evaluations and steering clear of these dubious methodologies I am so tired of seeing. The sourcing world needs this!

    Jim McNamara

  12. Chris Hughes
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Really looking forward to finding out more and seeing how this evolves.

  13. Gerry
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    This is very interesting. Can you clarify what constitutes Innovation and Execution? These are very broad terms,


  14. Phil Fersht
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    @Gerry: these are the high-level subcategories we use:


    Quality of Customer Relationships:

    Quality of Account Management Teams
    Engaging Customers and Developing Customer Communities
    Incorporate Customer Feedback

    Real World Delivery of Solutions:

    Actual Delivery of Services for each Sub process (O2C, P2P, R2R, other)
    Geographic Footprint and scale
    Usefulness of Services of Specific Client Needs
    Flexibility to Deliver Both End to End and Point Solutions
    Experience Delivering Industry Specific Solutions

    Market Share
    Flexibility Pricing Models to Meet Customer Needs


    Vision for End to End Process:

    Concrete Plans to Deliver Value beyond Cost
    Integration of Tech into Business Process
    Continuous Improvement Methodology and Capability

    Vision for Industry Specific Solutions
    Ability to Leverage External Value Drivers

    Drop me a mail if you’d like to learn more:

    phil dot fersht @hfsresearch.com


  15. Posted July 31, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    this is amaazing work phil.. hats off to the team.. Pls explain how execution and innovation are measured..

  16. Posted August 1, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    This looks impressive and highly insightful…look forward to seeing such analysis for this industry.

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